City of Westminster College
City of Westminster College (CWC) offers around 250 full and part‐time courses to over 7,000 students each year in the centre of London. Altogether, there are five College Centre locations in the City. The city of Westminster College is taking forward an ambitious scheme for the redevelopment of its Paddington Green site to create a £102m world‐class new campus in the heart of Westminster, with cutting‐edge facilities to support the College’s extensive and growing range of vocational and academic courses.
The new CWC Paddington Green Campus, providing 24,000 m2 of floor space, is
expected to open in January 2011. The College’s brief was for high-quality architecture and sustainability in a building that takes full advantage of a key location in the borough. The provision of the most flexible technology was integral to the design of the new Paddington Green building. One of the lynchpins of the new main campus is that it will allow students to tailor their study to learn in an increasingly flexible and personal way.
PTS Consulting was engaged as IT Consultancy partner for the project in the earliest planning stages. PTS was selected due to its experience in this sector and its knowledge of the management of large scale construction projects. The College had a vision of what it wanted to achieve, but it required a more detailed IT Relocation Strategy, business case and budget in order to apply to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for funding to proceed with the project.
IT Strategy, Business Case and Budget:
PTS firstly interviewed a range of users at the College, including the Faculty Heads, a number of key
staff members and a selection of students. This assisted in gathering data on the current technology in
use at the College and the future user requirements. From this, PTS compiled an IT Strategy that would
encapsulate CWC’s vision for a Future College environment. The budget had to be highly accurate to
present to the LSC, detailing both capital and revenue expenditure to give a clear picture of future costs.
Using the budget compiled by PTS Consulting, CWC was delighted to secure approval from LSC at the
end of July 2008, to proceed with the construction of its new Paddington Green Campus. At £102m,
the project is the highest value single site redevelopment that the LSC has agreed to date.
IT Design and Procurement:
The new College site will have state of the art facilities including: conventional and open plan classroom
space; a public cafe, college information centre; and, a new 150 seat theatre. Based on its knowledge
of construction projects of this type, PTS helped CWC to define the IT infrastructure requirements for
the new building to: incorporate the latest technology; maximise flexibility for the users; simplify IT
operational costs; and, limit power consumption. Once the IT design requirements had been specified,
PTS translated this into a RFP with which CWC could approach the market for the IT solution
procurement to proceed. OJEU was selected as the procurement framework as the standardised
procedures would ensure open and fair competition in the market. PTS are now managing the tender
process on CWC’s behalf, and will conduct a due diligence analysis of the supplier responses in order
to make independent recommendations on the most suitable IT solutions for the College.
The scope of the IT design included:
- Enhancements to the existing Converged Network to benefit from the latest IP Telephony developments
- Audio Visual technology to enable an enhanced collaboration and communication environment
- Physical IT infrastructure design including Central Equipment Rooms, Structured Cabling, and Wireless Networking
- Changing the Enterprise environment to introduce Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) technology for 700 out of 1200 users. Migrating to such a VDI platform would offer the College a ‘greener’ and more operationally efficient desktop and data storage solution, to lower the future cost of ownership in this area
Project Management and Implementation:
PTS Consulting has offered CWC Project Management support and guidance from the very earliest phases of the project to ensure that IT can be incorporated into the building design and construction planning. Despite changes within the main and M&E contracting teams, PTS has been on hand to ensure project continuity and consistency of standards. Thus far, PTS has helped manage a pilot for the VDI technology and the College is very happy with the results. Thanks to PTS Consulting’s involvement, the College is now ready to move forward with IT implementation and full-scale construction of the new campus build.
The flexibility of the IT design means almost every area of the building becomes a
potential learning zone. Wireless computer access will make it easy to find a quiet corner for study and relaxed seating and working arrangements will allow students to meet in groups to study or swap ideas. The main features delivered to CWC include:
- IT strategy, business case and budget to secure approval from LSC for £102m Future College Project
- Detailed IT design for IP Telephony; AV Technology, IT Infrastructure; and, Enterprise Network
- Tender process managed in line with OJEU guidelines
- Ongoing project management to ensure IT incorporated as part of the construction programme
- Successful trial of VDI technology to demonstrate benefits of its use including reduced power consumption, cooling and lower cost of ownership
David Pigden, Deputy Head of City of Westminster College commented:
“The ICT infrastructure is recognised as an incredibly important part of the City of Westminster College’s strategy to achieve our vision of being a college that provides a teaching and learning environment to inspire pupils, staff and the local community. We challenged the Design Team, including PTS Consulting, to deliver an exceptional product for our community. PTS Consulting’s experience in the development of large scale public buildings meant that its people were qualified to challenge us in return and filled the role of trusted advisor providing a continuous project management role working collaboratively with our own teams at the College.
PTS Consulting’s part in the project began in October 2007. Construction of the new main campus started in August 2008 and it is due to open in January 2011. We have had a number of challenges along the way and I am sure we will have more to come. It is with this in mind that I am encouraged that PTS are working closely with our team to deliver our future vision for ICT at the College.”